The foreign minister said Hungary will withhold its approval of any sanctions that would render the transit of Russian oil and natural gas to the country unfeasible, as this would compromise its energy security.
Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, said that whereas Hungary has so far voted for all European Union sanction packages, it has had to contend with “unfair and unjust” attacks. The minister said Hungary was open and straightforward about its unwillingness to abandon its energy supply security, adding that the government protected the national interest first and foremost. “This is a real issue of energy security as it’s currently physically impossible to run the economy without Russian crude,” Minister Szijjártó said. Around 20,000 tonnes each day, or 65 percent of Hungarian oil consumption, comes from Russia through the Friendship Pipeline, he said, adding that no alternative supply routes were available for replacing this amount. The Croatian section of the Adriatic pipeline has major capacity limitations, Minister Szijjártó said, while developing the necessary infrastructure would require enormous investment. With circumstances thrust upon it, Hungary, he said, had no time to alter its refinery to make the switch to another type of crude, and it did not yet know exactly how much this would cost.
Photo credit: Facebook/Szijjártó Péter